Looking back at our performance on the 8th December I think that personally it went better than I expected it to. Considering that when we blocked our piece for the first time we didn’t have Sian, she caught up well and we all took on the responsibility to tell her and update her on what is happening and what she needs to do.
We worked really well together as a team. I think because we all came up with different parts of the piece I think we are more attached as a group because we worked to hard together comparing to some other groups. Those who have got the script from just one or two people I think will struggle with characterisation and connecting with the piece because the more you write for yourself, the more likely you are to want to do the piece. Although, I’m not talking of everyone’s point of view because I know people who prefer to have an already written script in front of them and then spend the time to relate to the characters.
I think that the use of similarities to a ‘Pantomime’ really highlights specific parts in the story but in a fun way. I really liked how we put our own twist on our characters but I do think that we do need to work some more on individual characterisation. Also, looking back at the video of our presentation we need to do more on blocking, we have a vague idea on what we should be doing but we need to go a lot further before we perform our piece to over 1,000 children.
Characterisation. As I am playing the youngest friend/sibling of the group I need to let my body image and language show that. I have researched the ‘typical characteristics’ of a young ‘Leo’ girl. I have decided to base her characteristics on a Leo because most children who are the youngest are born in the summer and July – August are key summer months. Here is what I found and what I will keep the ideas of and what I will discard.
- Tendency to vocalise what they are thinking (often loudly) – I use this strategy many times when I have written the scripting because I feel like it is something that I would have done when I was younger and this is helpful because it will be a natural act rather than ‘acting’
- Clingy to those who are close to her and mean a lot.
- Sensible Streak – I think that all children have a sensible streak and I think that my character will be a little slow when using her sensible streak. Maybe she doesn’t understand how to use it.
- Laugh loudly – I do this anyway and I think bringing a little of your own personality into a character is always a good idea because it feels more real and grounded.
- Passionate about certain subjects or emotions – This could include their favourite subject at school, standing up for a friend when they are being put down or just passionately loving someone (maybe when they are older and grown up)
- Innocence – A Leo baby is known to be a little naïve because they are the youngest and they don’t understand the world as quickly as other children do who are older and see a different perspective on the world.
- Strong and will full like a lion – I feel like Eleanor would be a character who could stand on her own and survive without help however she is a people person and prefers to surround herself with people she loves for security.
- Natural leader – I think that Eleanor would like to be a natural leader however lacks these skills and therefore makes her vulnerable.
- Demanding – This I think would speak Eleanor all over, however I don’t think that she would be demanding in a rude or horrible way but maybe in the sense that she demands for attention and every now and then she brings everyone’s thoughts back to her just so they know that she is still there.
So there are a few ideas on what I think would be best for Eleanor as a character but I will need to discuss this with Erica and ask for her opinions, I will also involve my group and see what they think so we all understand what is happening for each person and learn about each others thoughts.
For our second rehearsed reading with Gary and Erica I feel like I should do an added evaluation on what I think went well and what I think was raised that was a good point and now a focus for our group.
Having had the extra time to think about the blocking and the characterisation I presume that from the previous showing we have come a long way. Considering the last time we didn’t have a lesson on blocking and other characterisation topics we did well to continue going through till the end. This time, I feel as though our piece is solid, we know what we are doing and understand what key instruments need to be involved in the piece and we know what we need to research for our characters…etc. However, I think our main issue is the choreography for the dance sections of songs because Tom is in charge and because we wanted to stretch ourselves and choose something that we wouldn’t normally choose I think it’s a lot harder for him to come up with simple enough choreography for us all the join in and for the children to participate. I am focusing on the tech side of the production and because my boyfriend is a techie in the college he can really help me understand certain things, for example, lighting ideas, set and special awareness. Considering that we will be performing in a small hall in a school I don’t think we will really have to worry about the lighting state because the majority of school around Bury don’t have that type of equipment. A set acknowledgement that Erica had suggested was to include a big clock in the middle of the stage so that children can tell the time throughout and each time the children go through and from the frame Griselda can change the time so it seems like we have been in the magical world for a long time. This could involve some mathematics for the children to think about. (intellectual thinking) What we have already decided about set for some of the performance is that we will have painted sheets at the back of the stage in the magical world that has the name of the country on. Teaching some English. Each time the kids go through the magical frame they are in a different world and so we thought it would be easier to demonstrate with pictures and words (creative minds). For the Paris scene we have decided that we are going to make a cardboard cut out for a taxi, painted yellow and lights as headlights. This imagery will help the audience understand what is happening and gives them clues as to where they are. For the Eygptian scene we are having cardboard cut our camels to reinforce the idea of creative minds and understanding where the kids are.
Looking back at Gary’s comments I think that he raised a lot of really encouraging points for our piece and yet raised concerns that we didn’t really notice before that needed fixing. Gary gave us the idea of having the pictures as though they were pictures from a memorable holiday and his sister was in the picture but he has taken her out of the painting when they are missing. This is something that we have thought about and taken into account but we have also come up with other solutions to fix the original problem that we had. A question that was raised when we talked about the paintings was, ‘why does Emryss paint?’, ‘what does Griselda do instead?’. This then lead to another strand of education for the children. The difference between an intellectual mind-set and a creative mind-set. We could talk to the audience about how it’s okay to be different and it’s normal to think in a slightly different way to the others around us. This could then lead to a friendship route. Talking about friendships and teaching the children about how much better it is to help a friend out when they are sad or sharing the thoughts you have with others that are not unkind…etc.
Gary told us that we need to fix the ‘Paris song’ because it was not working and he needs us to improve on what we have already. Another section that we don’t actually have yet for our piece is a prologue. Gary seemed to think that it would be a good idea to include a prologue that would explain the brother and sister rivalry to set the scene. I think that this was a good idea, however I don’t think it’s necessary. That is something that we could keep from the audience and for them to find out that information out throughout the show. Or, we could do it so the children understand why Griselda has such mischief towards Emryss. As for the song, Paul thought it would be a better idea if we kept the chorus the same for each country because the children will be able to pick up on that and will join in with the singing because the chorus is simple and its to a melody that they should all know.
One of the major techniques in theatre that we are lacking is audience participation. Gary has promoted that it would be better if we have more audience interacting lines and choreography so the children remember exactly what we teach throughout the show and tell their family members afterwards, having learnt what we set out to teach. For example, summoning ‘Grisela’ we decided after hearing the comments that Gary made, to let the audience call ‘GRISELDA’ three times so she appears for the children on stage’s next clue.